In February, Haniel sold its 50.01 per cent interest in Celesio AG to the leading North American healthcare services company, McKesson Corporation, which acquired a total of 76 per cent of Celesio’s shares. The transaction netted Haniel proceeds of just under EUR 2 billion, part of which was used to reduce the Company’s debt, and part of which was set aside for future portfolio additions. Haniel had been the major shareholder of Celesio since 1973 and has had a significant impact on its growth and internationalisation path.
In September, Haniel registered the brand name “Haniel Family Equity”. Thus what has long been the defining feature of the Duisburg-based company has been officially recognised: Haniel combines the best of both worlds: the professionalism of private equity and the values of a family-owned company.
At the end of October, Haniel dissolved the pooling agreement with BVG Beteiligungs- und Vermögensverwaltungs-GmbH and the Schmidt-Ruthenbeck family, in order to streamline and simplify the ownership structure of METRO AG. The primary purpose of the pooling agreement had been to govern the joint exercise of voting rights, thus securing a majority for resolutions by the annual general meeting. However, this was never necessary in the past ten years since all resolutions by METRO AG were passed with a majority in excess of 90 per cent.